Montana has become the first state to ban the popular social media app TikTok.
Gov. Greg Gianforte signed Senate Bill 419 on Wednesday, saying he wants to protect the private information of state residents from being compromised. He pointed to the Chinese government as a potential threat.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s use of TikTok to spy on Americans, invade their privacy, and collect their personal, private and sensitive information is well documented,” Governor Gianforte said.
There is no direct evidence that the Chinese government has ever accessed TikTok user data. However, TikTok’s critics point to laws in China that give the government access to a company’s customer records.
According to the Montana measure, platforms that offer the app on their marketplaces, such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, will face fines of up to $10,000 per day for violations.
The ban will take effect on January 1, 2024. It is expected that TikTok will challenge the bill in federal court. It and groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have said the ban is unconstitutional.
Last December, Gianforte banned TikTok from the state’s electronic devices. On Wednesday, he added that the ban would be extended to include “any social media application that collects and provides users’ personal information or data to a foreign adversary or a person or entity located in a country designated as a foreign adversary.”
President Biden signed legislation banning the app from government entities last December and has considered an outright ban if TikTok’s parent company ByteDance can’t find a US buyer. The United States and its “Five Eyes” security partners – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – ban TikTok from federal government entities, citing national security concerns.